Tue | Apr 23, 2019

Contractor general calls for scrutiny of company that bought Caricel

Published:Saturday | February 24, 2018 | 12:00 AMRuddy Mathison/Gleaner Writer
Contractor General Dirk Harrison.

Contractor General Dirk Harrison has called for a detailed review of the application of Involution Limited, the South African company that bought the controlling interests of Caricel Jamaica.

Addressing the bi-weekly meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Spanish Town, St Catherine, on Thursday night, Harrison, who claimed that he had not been informed about the matter and only learnt of the transaction through a Gleaner article on February 9, contended that the matter was cause for concern.

Pointing out that telecommunications firm Symbiote, which trades as Caricel Jamaica, had made intentional variations to the name reported on its original application, a move intended to mislead the Government of Jamaica, Harrison argued that in order to transfer or change directors or shareholders or, more important, sell controlling shares and control of the operations of Caricel, it must get the approval of the minister of science, energy, and technology as dictated by the Telecommunications Act.

"According to the Telecommunications Act, an application must be submitted to the minister. The persons must satisfy certain conditions - persons and company must not have been disqualified from granting a licence by reason of legal impediment," he stated.

"I trust that the regulators - the Office of the Utilities Regulation, Spectrum Management Authority, the minister of science, energy, and technology and portfolio minister - consider the receipt and review of this application."




Disclosing a set criteria for the review, Harrison said that there should be an examination of the corporate documents, inclusive of letters of good standing, corporate structure, details of shareholders and directors, other companies associated with the controlling interest, and audited financial statements.

"We need to set standards and ensure that the systems we have work and not in the name of bringing investors to our country no matter what. If Jamaicans have to abide by the rules, foreigners must also abide by these rules," he emphasised.

The contractor general questioned whether the South African company had complied with all the obligations and the requirements imposed by Cabinet in 2016.

"Have they supplied all the relevant documents to regulators? What action, if any, will be taken should there be a breach or failure to comply? What information satisfied the minister? Has there been any favourable treatment granted, whether expressed or implied?" he enquired.

Harrison said that while these questions are being asked, persons in authority must recognise that there is recourse if companies are in breach.

"There are sanctions, and I trust that the law will take its course," he concluded.